Isle Army crisis center
part of new defense bill

A U.S. Senate committee has approved $11.5 million for Army crisis control operations in Hawaii.

The appropriation, which still must be approved by the full Senate, is part of $540 million in defense-related projects proposed for Hawaii in the $416.2 billion defense appropriations bill for the next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

John Thorpe, the Army's Pacific deputy chief information officer, said the money will support improvement in communications and data systems.

"This includes continued improvement in communications that support the Army's efforts in homeland defense, specifically emergency response-related communications," Thorpe said.

A portion of the money will continue a demonstration project for Hawaii County providing first responders with communication that can be linked to state and federal systems.

An additional $88 million is for various projects, upgrades and new equipment at Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility.

An extra $3 million was approved to continue the development of the Navy's latest stealth vehicle, a battery-powered, 65-foot black minisub called the Advanced SEAL Delivery System.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which approved the federal funding, said the money does not cover funding for island military construction projects or for the day-to-day operations and payroll for the military in Hawaii.

Some other Hawaii defense projects approved this week by the Senate committee include:

>> $10 million for a military aviation museum on Ford Island.
>> $4 million to continue funding of Hickam's ongoing test using alternative fuel vehicles and buses, including those powered by fuel cells or electricity.
>> $1.5 million to train 150 apprentices for the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard as part of a continuing program with Honolulu Community College.


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